Wednesday, 17 April 2013

CHILI CILANTRO HOME MADE COTTAGE CHEESE (MASALA PANEER)


It is rare that I make cottage cheese at home. Not that it is difficult or cumbersome to make but cottage cheese, also popularly known as paneer, is so easily available in India that one seldom needs to make it at home. The easy availability ensures that one just needs to go and grab it from the local dairy. It’s moist and soft texture makes it a versatile ingredient for adding it to curries, vegetables or making it into tikka or kofta.

I often buy it from the local dairy for the paneer dishes that I make at home. But, how much as I may like paneer in a dish (read curry), I simply can’t eat it on its own. As a matter of fact, I started eating paneer much later in my life and despite relishing it in curry and as tikka, I still haven’t developed a taste for eating it in raw form. I guess my palate misses the punch of flavours that it has got accustomed to in curries or the spicy tikka avatar.

That is when I decided to make cottage cheese at home and add that spicy twist so that I could enjoy it as finger food. It turned out just as the dairy made one – soft, creamy and moist but loaded with flavour from the addition of spices and cilantro.


You will need the following:

1.6 L full-fat milk (for softer cheese, full fat milk - 6% - is recommended)
¾ tsp-1 tsp citric acid OR 2-3 tbsp lemon juice
Muslin or Cheese cloth
A heavy bottomed pot

2tsp red chilli flakes
½ tsp dry roasted and crushed cumin
1 tbsp chopped cilantro (hara dhaniya)
Salt to taste

Boil the milk in a heavy bottomed pot. As it comes to a boil, switch off the heat and after about 3-4 minutes add which ever curdling agent you are using - citric acid (add ¾ tsp first and if required add a little more) OR lemon juice (add 2 tbsp and if required add more) and give a stir.
The milk will curdle leaving light greenish whey.
Add the red chilli flakes, crushed cumin and cilantro.

Carefully drain the contents into the muslin cloth to separate the curds from the whey. Wash the contents.
(You may keep the whey & use it to cook dal or knead dough for chapattis or discard it)
Add salt and stir the cheese with spoon to mix it well.
Hang the cloth to drain the excess water and once done, tie the muslin cloth around the cheese in a knot to prevent the curds from escaping.
Put some heavy weight over it. Keep it for 10-15 minutes (depending on the amount of weight you have used).
Remove the paneer from the muslin cloth and serve.


Snack on it or serve it as finger food.
Cut a thick slice of paneer and enjoy it with a buttered slice of toasted bread. Yumm... J

Yield: 300 grams approx.

Suggestion: Try this cottage cheese with cracked black pepper or jalapeno. Basil and sun dried tomatoes make for an interesting flavour too. Let your creativity guide you on this one.

Note: Keeping the weight for too long may release too much moisture and leave the paneer dry.
Note: If you do not have lemon juice or citric acid you can instead use yogurt as the curdling agent. 
Note: For use in curry and tikka, keep the paneer plain i.e. without condiments and herbs. 

Thanks for visiting...see you again!

21 comments:

  1. I'm in love with this idea of adding flavors to the cottage cheese and those dark, moody clicks! Welcome back, Taruna. :) You were greatly missed dear!

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    1. Thanks Rathai. I too missed you all and I am so glad to be back again :)

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  2. I sometimes add coriander or mint to my paneer. Your paneer looks perfect. How did you get this perfect shape n even from the top too?

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    1. Hi Shella! Thanks for visiting my space.
      I have a round container with a lid that is used specially to drain whey from paneer :)

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  3. Wow! I never thought to do homemade cottage cheese but this looks delicious! Love the idea of the chilli!

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  4. What a great homemade cheese. We have a similar one in Mexico that I make often, and adding chili gives it a fantastic taste. Thanks for sharing, I'm going to give it a try soon.

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  5. I have made this cheese at home a few time but never added flavors to it. LOVE LOVE what you put in it, looks so good.

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  6. Looks so perfect and loved the flavors

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  7. Omg, homemade chilli cilantro cottage cheese, just loving it.

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  8. This cheese is so aromatic and special with all the flavors combined in it!

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  9. wow this is so beautifully done. So are the clicks!

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  10. Masala paneer is great fun and is very popular nowadays! Definitely need to try this, sounds like a delicious recipe and it looks gorgeous!!

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  11. What a unique idea. And your pictures are very good too adding to the 'I must taste' appeal. Very nice.

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  12. Almost forgot about flavored paneer. I used to do it with cilantro crushed pepper and salt. Thanx for reminding and for this interesting recipe. Chillie flakes n sun dried tomato is interesting.

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  13. Beautiful shots here. And I love the creativity of this paneer recipe :)

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  14. Ohhh..I am in love with this paneer. Marvellous shot !

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  15. Thank you so much everyone. I am glad you all liked it and i hope you will try it in your kitchen and enjoy it too :-)

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  16. I love that you customized this paneer (cottage cheese). It looks fantastic. :)

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  17. Wow, you have come back with a bang !! Amazing pictures, and beautifully shaped Paneer..

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  18. Hello.. I love your recipe and i have share your recipe in my blog and my page.
    Find Indian And Non Indian Recipe Collection..
    Blog : http://indianrecipecollections.blogspot.com
    Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/pages/My-Food/244843132221192
    Twitter : https://twitter.com/swalawade

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